Harry Kane took the plaudits after a hat-trick in England’s record 6-1 demolition of Panama but the bizarre goal that sealed his special milestone was mired in controversy.
England backed up their opening 2-1 win against Tunisia with an attacking masterclass against the hapless Panamanians as Kane made it five goals in two matches and England sealed their place in the knockout stages.
However, it was Three Lions’ skipper’s bizarre third goal that proved one of the post-match talking points, with Kane offside and completely unaware he was about to deflect Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s shot into Panama’s net.
Can't believe that counted. Kane was offside. But hey I'll take it. #ENGPAN
— Jurgensglasses (@Bennett15Db) June 24, 2018
Yeah I thought it was defo offside, was a bit weird that it stood.
— JustForBets (@JustForBets2) June 24, 2018
Was offside, but you know.. football’s coming home so give the goal 🤷🏻♂️
— Adam (@adam__dillon) June 24, 2018
Other fans suggested that the VAR must have been preoccupied after failing to pick up on Kane’s obvious offside.
Commentators: "The VAR team are checking if Harry Kane is off side"
VAR team: pic.twitter.com/iXvxNoaa9S
— Ryan De Haber (@Itshaber) June 24, 2018
Admittedly, the damage had already been done by the time Kane added his third and England’s sixth early in the second half.
Two penalties from Kane, a John Stones double and Jesse Lingard’s wonder strike saw Gareth Southgate’s team take an insurmountable and record-breaking 5-0 lead before half-time.
Kane completed his hat-trick shortly after the hour mark to go top of the tournament’s goal chart and make Felipe Baloy’s late consolation nothing to worry about as the Three Lions eased into the last 16.
It is the first time England have scored more than three goals in a single match on the big stage since they won the World Cup in 1966 and is their biggest win since they beat Denmark 3-0 in 2002.
However, the result falls four goals short of the tournament’s record, set by Hungary when they beat El Salvador 10-1 in 1982.
Now on eight goals after two games, the 2018 World Cup has been their most fruitful in front of goal since 1966.
And each goal was vital for Southgate’s side as it drew them closer to Belgium, who impressed with a 5-2 win over Tunisia on Saturday to go top of Group G, only for England to edge into first place by virtue of being shown fewer yellow cards.
Now level on points and goals scored and conceded, the two will battle it out for the top spot in the final game of the round on Thursday, June 28.